Things You'll Need
Door hardware: hinges or sliders and latches
Mesh fence wire
If you’re bringing horses into your life and you would like them to live at home with you, you can convert an existing storage building into a two-stall horse barn. The building must have a minimum size of 12 feet by 24 feet with sidewalls at least 9 feet high in order to accommodate two 12-by-12 stalls for your full-sized horses.
The building should be located in a well drained area. Dirt floor is preferred, but a concrete floor can be covered with rubber mats to provide the necessary cushioning.
Converting a Storage Building to a Two-Stall Horse Barn
Plan the surrounding area, including fencing, so each horse will have a turnout area of at least 400 square feet—20 feet by 20 feet is optimal. Horses are herd animals, so if they get along, it’s best to have a shared turnout paddock. Determine which side of the building on which to place the turnouts. You can add doors to the other side, so you don’t have to walk through the turnouts to get into the stalls for cleaning. Stall doors should be at least 4 feet wide. If you’re going to allow the horses to come and go as they please from the turnouts, a wider door opening is preferred. If the horses will have a shared paddock, and you leave the stalls open, make the openings even wider in case the horses come into the same stall at the same time. This will help to prevent injury.
Build the dividing wall between the stalls. The overall height of the wall should be 8 feet minimum. You can build the bottom half of the wall—minimum 4 feet—with 2 inch stock lumber and use mesh fence wire for the top of the wall. When a horse can see another horse, they are generally calmer and happier.
If you’re converting a metal shed to your two-stall barn, you will have to cover the interior of the walls with 2-inch lumber to a height of 4 feet, so the horse will not kick the metal and damage it or himself.
Cut openings in the walls for the doors, taking care not to cut through any supporting beams. Frame the openings with headers and supports to ensure the integrity of the building.
Build the doors. Sliding doors work best as they will not blow open or shut unexpectedly, but you can use doors that open out of the stall—just be sure to provide a catch to hold the door open if you’ll be using the barn as a run-in, where horses can come and go.
Plan where you’ll be storing hay and other feed. If the horses’ feed is close by and it’s easy to unload, it will make chores more efficient, and you’ll have more time to play with your horses.
Be sure to have a source of clean, adequate water readily available.
Some localities may require a permit to convert a storage building or shed to a two-stall barn, so check with local zoning before beginning the project.
If you’re not sure how to frame and support doorways, be sure to consult a professional for your safety and that of your horses.
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Jan Evans has been a professional writer since 1999 when she was first published in "Western Horseman Magazine." In 2005, she covered agricultural and rural topics for the Colorado regional newspaper, "AgJournal." In 2001, she expanded her writing horizons and learned sales and marketing copywriting.